- This topic has 1 reply, 1 voice, and was last updated November 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm by .
- November 2, 2008 at 8:55 pm #265796
A pumpkin is really a squash. It is a member of the Cucurbita family which includes squash and cucumbers.
Pumpkins are grown all over the world on six of the seven continents, with Antarctica being the sole exception. They are even grown in Alaska.
The self proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” is Morton, Illinois where Libby has it’s pumpkin industry and plant.
The History of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C.
Native American Indians used pumpkin as a staple in their diets centuries before the pilgrims landed. When white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by the Indians. Pumpkin soon became a staple in their diets, too.
They also brought seeds back to Europe, where they quickly became popular. Just like today, early settlers used pumpkins in a wide variety of recipes, from desserts to stews and soups. In addition to cooking with pumpkins, they also dried the shells and cut strips to weave into mats.
Early settlers made pumpkin pie by filling a hollowed out shell with milk, honey and spices, then baking it.Whether they learned this from Native Americans is not known.
The Thanksgiving Connection
There are conflicting reports and documentation as to whether pumpkins were a part of the first Thanksgiving meal of the Pilgrims and the Indians. We do know that pumpkins were a staple of the Indians long before the arrival of the pilgrims. Regardless of what camp you are in, from that time forward, pumpkins have been, and continue to be a tradition at the Thanksgiving feast.
Not only is it associated with the meal itself, but the pumpkin has adorned and decorated homes and communities in honor of this event for hundreds of years.
Pumpkin and your Health
Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and potassium. They are also high in fiber. The conclusion you should now be reaching is that they are therefore good for you.
Your conclusion is absolutely correct…..until you start adding other ingredients that make up many pumpkin recipes.
From a medicinal standpoint, pumpkins have been used for a variety of ailments:
They were once recommended as a cure for freckles.
They were used as a remedy for snake bites.
The seeds help avoid prostate cancer in men.
Many recipes, among them Pie and Cheesecake, include eggs and whole milk(or half and half). In addition, the recipes sometimes call for heavy doses of salt. The end product is outstanding in taste, and all but taboo for today’s cholesterol and salt conscious population.
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